August 24, 2012

Guild Wars 2 Beta Impressions: Making more Loot from Looting the Loot

     In the previous article, I discussed more on the loot system and how people gather loot in Guild Wars 2. Now I'll be focusing more on the systems that allow you to gain a profit from things you have gathered. Let's talk about trade.

     Trading systems in MMO's have come a long way from its initial roots. The most primitive form is physical trading where one person comes up to another person and initiates the trade. This is supplemented by a trade chat channel to match the potential buyers and sellers. As the genre grew more popular, people demanded for more sophisticated systems. One system that was quite successful was the auction house. While this system can be called a variety of names, e.g. marketplace, trading post, etc. I'll be using the term auction house as the general term for simplicity sake. The concept of this system is to have an automated in-game system that matches the buyers with the sellers while at the same time, allows the game to manage the trading process without requiring either the buyer or seller to be online at the same time. And like everything else that I talked about so far, Guild Wars 2 takes this concept and implements it in its own unique way.

     Let's start with talking about the trade system in the original Guild Wars. While there was an auction house of some sort (was more like a trading post actually), people didn't have much freedom in terms of pricing their goods. The in-game trading system worked like this. The game displays a list of crafting materials with a buy price and sell price associated to it. The concept was simple. If I have a bunch of iron ingots, I simply go to the trade NPC, check the NPC's buying price in the window for iron ingots then click sell. The NPC then gives me the gold. If another player then visits a trade NPC. That person will be able to buy iron ingots at a selling price which was higher than the initial buying price. Remember when I say buy and sell, what I mean is the NPC is buying or selling. This system worked it's pricing based on supply and demand. The more people selling iron ingots to the NPC, the lower the price. While more people buying iron ingots will effectively raise the price.

     This system is very convenient for 2 reasons. One is that it simplifies the market price of items. Since you can see how much the NPC is willing to buy the good, you have a fair idea of how much the item is worth thus reducing the chance that you will undersell an item. Two, the effect is immediate, when you sell the good to the NPC, you instantly get the gold. No waiting for someone to look at your item post and decide to buy it, it is just sold. Of course, the problem that comes up with this is that if you opt to use this system, you can't really dictate how much you want for it.

     Because of this lack of freedom, the people then took to the trade channels spamming advertisements about their wares. This shows that people still prefer the traditional way of selling where they can dictate their price and gain a bit more profit than selling it to the trading NPC.

     Guild Wars 2 then implements the marketplace in a very unique way that merges both the ideas from the original as well as auction house systems used in other games.

Blurry shot but this shows you what the selling interface looks like
     If you are familiar with standard auction house systems, you'd feel right at home. You are taken to the trading post screen (this is the name for the auction house in Guild Wars 2) then you can post an item for sale with the price you specified. What's cool though is when you post an item, you get this small list of information about the market value of the item. The game does not dictate how much you will sell the item for but instead, just gives you some information to help you in this pricing decision. And I have to say, having a sell maximum button there as well just makes sense and makes the trading process simpler. You no longer have to individual put up several stacks of an item for sale. But this is not the only thing unique about the trading post.

     The systems I used in the past are quite seller-centric. This means that when I open the auction house, I see a list of goods for sale where I can have my pick of the litter. This is the basic concept of selling that people have. If we go to Costco or any store for that manner, we expect the shelves to be lined with a variety goods so that we can pick that patio table that fits just right on your backyard or lawn. The trading post in Guild Wars 2 also has this system. You can freely post your items for them be listed as for sale, but they added an additional feature, meeting with the highest buyer. This means that if I am interested in buying a particular item, I can list my intention to buy within the trading post as well. This means when someone wants to sell the item I need, they have the option of directly selling it to me. Instant gratification is no longer limited to the buyer, it can be for the seller as well (similar to that of the original).

     Also worthy to note is that the trading post can be accessed from anywhere. There is one limitation though, you can only pick up the gold you get from selling (or item if you were buying) from a trading NPC. I found that this was very convenient since I can take a look at what's for sale without going back to town just to check how much this new drop I found is worth.

     Overall, I found the trade experience was quite enjoyable in the sequel. Though it remains to be seen how robust this system can be once the game releases (it so close you can feel it), things seem to be going well for the game and am looking forward to amassing game wealth with it.

Check back again to hear my final comments around the beta and some criticisms just to balance everything out. See you guys later.

No comments:

Post a Comment